Another James Fenimore Cooper novel will be the subject of a new musical, this time with the frontier author's best known book, "The Last of the Mohicans." (In 1999, Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera premiered Ted Drachman and Douglas J. Cohen's Glimmerglass, based on the five Cooper novels constituting the "Leatherstocking Tales.")
Composer Julian Ronnie and lyricist-bookwriter Paul Miller will bring The Last of the Mohicans to Toronto's St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts' Bluma Appel Theatre July 23. Opening night is set for Aug. 2.
Last of the Mohicans, the second of the "Leatherstocking Tales," is set during the French and Indian Wars in which Native Americans, the French and the British fought for control of the American colony. Alice and Cora Munro, trying to rejoin their British commander father, are thwarted by Magua, a Huron leader allied with the French. Magua, in turn, is besieged by the heroic Natty Bumpo (aka Leatherstocking or Hawk-eye), Uncas, the last of the Mohicans, and his father Chingachgook.
David Taylor directs with Daniel Ezralow as the choreographer. Jerome Sirlin will design the show, which will incorporate three-dimensional projections.
Miller stresses that special attention is being paid to the Native American musical. Members of the Cherokee, Tuscarora, Lumbee and Iroquois tribes have all given their support for the book and music and a Native American consultant, Ray Littleturtle, has been added to the show's staff. Tickets are $60-$35.50. The St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts is located at 27 Front Street East. For reservations, call (416) 366-7723. The Last of the Mohicans is on the web at http://www.mohicans.com.
The Bluma Appel Theatre houses the Canadian Stage Company and saw the world premiere of Kiss of the Spider Woman.
-- By Christine Ehren